Grants boost city health spending

Despite health department layoffs last year, the City of Evanston still spends more than twice as much per person as the Village of Skokie does on health-related services.

Evanston has budgeted nearly $4.2 million for health services, compared to $1.7 million in Skokie

For this article top-line departmental spending and staffing figures have been adjusted to account for services provided by other departments in each community.

So, Skokie’s health department spending on animal control has been eliminated, because that service is provided by the police department in Evanston.

And human services, social work and subsidized transportation functions provided through the Skokie village manager’s office have been added to Skokie’s numbers because the equivalent services are provided by the health department in Evanston.

Roughly similar staffing

After laying off about 15 people last year, Evanston’s health department staffing is only marginally higher than Skokie’s on a per-capita basis.

Skokie has .29 health workers per 1,000 residents. Evanston has .33.

Evanston supports non-profits

The biggest difference in spending: Evanston doles out health-related grants of city funds to private social agencies, and Skokie does not.

Evanston is distributing $885,000 this year to 19 agencies in mental health program grants and  $86,900 in grants to four agencies for services to the homeless.

More spent on food inspections

Evanston spends more than twice as much on Food and Environmental health programs — $805,000 in Evanston, versus $323,000 in Skokie.

Evanston has a couple more environmental health workers, but Skokie actually reports conducting more food service inspections per year — 1,650 in Skokie, compared to 1,270 in Evanston.

Evanston does recover $162,000 of the cost of food service inspections in food establishment license fees, nearly four times as much as Skokie charges.

Dental program

Evanston is spending nearly $368,000 this year on a dental services program for children, which has no counterpart in Skokie.

A little over a third of the cost of that program is recouped from fees and reimbursements.

Health administration

General administrative costs for the health department are nearly twice as large in Evanston as in Skokie.

Skokie spends less than $234,000 to administer its health department and provide copies of birth and death records. The cost for the same programs in Evanston totals nearly $449,000.

Evanston’s vital records office is much busier than Skokie’s. Evanston’s health department says it records 4,630 births and 1,243 deaths a year, compared to 525 births and 950 deaths in Skokie.

Evanston collects $142,000 for issuing copies of vital records documents. Skokie collects a little under $53,000. Both governments say that revenue covers the cost of their vital records programs.

Transit economies

One area where Evanston appears to spend less than Skokie is on transit subsidies for senior citizens.

Evanston’s subsidized taxicab program is budgeted at $295,000. Skokie pays over $332,000 for it Senior Transit for Area Residents program operated by PACE.

Planned for increase

While most health department programs in Evanston aren’t scheduled to change much in their funding in the new fiscal year that starts in March, one exception is community relations.

Evanston now spends $587,000 on those services, compared to $476,000 spent on similar programs in Skokie.

But for fiscal year 2009-10, the proposed budget increases community relations spending in Evanston to $1,094,000.

The increase will more than double the staff, from 1.5 to 3.5 people, and also cover costs of operating a grant-funded lead-based paint abatement program.

Related story

Government costs more in Evanston

Editors’ Picks